Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My AH-Mazing Trip to FL - Part 3 (I'm "fair"ly certain that this was fun and my meeting with you "can be my Doug")

"Must find french's my only means of survival."

There is something programmed inside me that reads...morning after drinking must be followed by these 3 things:
#1) Teeth brushing.

#2) Water (in large quantities).

#3) French Fries (preferably McDonalds).
Sometimes I can deviate from # 3 and change it out for Waffle House, but usually I don't start feeling "all better" until I consume french fries.  I absolutely don't feel "completely better" until I have had McDonald's french fries.  Now that I have plugged them as the hangover cure all I hope they will send me free fries because we all know my ass isn't big enough.  
Anyways, in my desperate and mad dash to not be any later than I already was to the fair I pulled in the first fast food restaurant I came to which was Burger King.  I'm sad to say that ever since the BK made their change over to the new fry like a decade ago...I get a little depressed when I get to the fry part of my meal.  But I do love a chicken nugget shaped like a makes me giggle inside that people believe this is "real" chicken.  It's like believing a Chicken Nugget from McDonald's is "real" chicken.  Come on people..when have you ever seen a real chicken with something on their body in the shape of a boot or if you flip it the other way it's the state of Florida.  That's just no natural.

So there I was with half hearted fries, chicken crowns and a huge ass coke.  I had deviated from the water ritual and the McDonald's I didn't know that I would be doomed by the end of the day was beyond me.  My only excuse was to blame it on the Crown!

Driving to Tampa...or anywhere for that matter after a night fueled with Crown, was probably a bad idea.  Driving while eating greasy food on a stomach that was probably still teamed with alcohol was an even worse one.  By the time I made it to the fair and got to smelling the things that usually delighted my senses and reminded me why it is that I'm a good 50+ lbs overweight about the only thing that I could concentrate on other than not being hit by the FL Highway Patrol office (FYI, thank goodness for your sake that you were a cutie pa tutie or else your badge number would have been mine Occifer McDrivinTooFastInAParkingLot) was that just the smells were making me queasy.

"Welcome to the FL State Fair...we'd like to take all your money, make sure you gain 10lbs while you're here and embarrass you by allowing you to piss yourself in the long lines for the few and far between bathrooms...thanks for coming and see ya next year."

Note to self...on the list of places to meet up with people that you haven't seen in FOREVER the fairgrounds should be at the bottom of your list.  Once you find them it's great...getting to the meeting point....ummmmm, not so much.  It goes a little like this....

Me (via text):  I just pulled in to park...will b goin in gate 3, where r u??
Marci (attempting to call me and have me hear her over extremely loud rides and the people around her):  we are by a gravitron...

Me (trying not to scream into phone so she can hear me but not go deaf):  what did you say? did you say gravitron??

Marci: yes...gravitron.  looks like a spaceship...past the food and stuff kind of near a ferris wheel...

Me (paying admission and walking through security and giving the stink eye to the woman who looks at though she may toss out my Purel): okay...I see a ferris wheel and food...I should be able to find you in a few minutes...

---Sidenote:  I'd like to announce that I get it...we live in a post 9/11 world where jackasses get on plane's with bombs in any of the, underwear, assholes, etc...but seriously...IT'S A FAIR! No one can be upset at a fair...pukey maybe...broke definitely, but a Purel bomber at the fair...highly unlikely.  (for future reference if something like this occurs where some jackleg douchebag decides to take down a fair with hand sanitizer I'd like to go on record saying it was NOT because they read my blog and thought "hey she got hand sanitizer in, we could do it to" please remember they are the assholes...not me, I'm just the slight germ-a-phob that sometimes acts like an asshole...BIG flaming difference) --

We both hang up and I continue to walk.  Then I look up and see...and I'm not making this shit up...there was about 6 ferris wheels!!! Fuck my life!  And we later discovered that there were at least 2 gravitrons.  I guess this fair grew exponentially since the last time I was here cause if I recall things are supposed to feel smaller with age NOT bigger.  The only thing that never seems to feel smaller to me no matter how many times I go back is Disney World and let me tell you I'd have a better chance of NOT getting lost there in comparison to the fairgrounds.

It took a good 10 min and 1/2 a dozen text and phone calls but I finally located them.  I hugged Marci and apologized for not only my tardiness but the fact that I probably reeked of Crown.  She just laughed it off and led me to where everyone was sitting and grabbing a bite to eat.  I saw Vis and hugged her.  15 yrs hadn't changed either Marci or Vis one bit except for the addition of kids and husbands.  My lateness caused me to miss Chrissy and her younger 3 kids but I did get to hang with her teenager Shawn.

Mini Extended Family Reunion - Marci, Me & Vis

For the fist time in my visit I missed not having my girls with me.  It's not that I didn't miss having my kids the other times, but any mother can tell ya...a break is not only welcomed every once in a while it is WELL deserved.

We got to chatting.  Catching up on kids and life.  It's funny how conversations always revert back to the past but it was so much fun to trade stories of things that have gone on in our lives since we all last saw one another.  The kids ran from ride to ride and I tried not to have a nervous breakdown keeping eyes on all 6 of them.  I didn't worry so much about the bigger ones but when Vissy's two little ones got to moving ahead through the crowd all of our mom instincts shifted into high gear and names were called out, then stern warnings given to stay close...which were of course ignored and the cycle was thus repeated every few minutes.

"Four kids...four kids....1, 2, 3, 4 kids...OH lord...God only gave me two hands...two of them are gonna get away with murder while I'm holding on to the other two."

The kids got snacks and I found it adorable that Vis's youngest made sure to offer me cotton candy.  I could have eaten her up with that sugary sweet bite of fair food.  Marci and the baby on the way were in desperate cravings for caramel apples and before I knew it everyone was eating one...well almost everyone.  I was unfortunately losing the battle of upset stomach due to too much liquor.  I was sipping on Coke and trying to ease that pukey feeling.   Of course staring at rides that are swirling in mad circles was no help.

The weather was gorgeous and we enjoyed the sunshine until just about the time everyone started to get restless thus signaling an end to the reunion.  I offered to get Marci and her daughter Lexi to their car which was on the other side of the grounds.  Vis was busy wrangling her little ones and so we all hugged and said our goodbyes.  I was more than happy to take Marci because there is no way in hell that I would have wanted to walk there and taking into consideration that she is pregnant and has her daughter with her...well, it was the "family" thing to do.   We chatted some more on our drive around the vast parking lots.

"I'm not exactly sure if you can drive through here...but I've got 4-wheel drive and a sense of adventure so lets give it a try shall we??"

In case I ever wondered exactly how big the fairgrounds were...I'd like to say that now myself, Marci and her daughter Lexi are the proud possessors of that knowledge.  I swear you could get lost for days in that damn parking lot.  There has to be at least 1/2 dozen entrances and most parking areas aren't on concrete so your 4 wheel driving through mud, muck and gravel.  We finally had success in locating where she parked but for the life of me I couldn't figure out how the hell to get into the actual lot that housed her car so I got yelled at by a parking attendant when I stopped to let her and Lexi out.  Thank God I had the frame of mind NOT to let my potty mouth run wild.  I waited for her call to tell me that she had found her car and then she followed me part of the way on the interstate until it was time to take our separate directions.  We exchanged text on the drive and I felt sad to have to end my time hangin out with both her and Vissy.  

I've always tried to maintain some kind of relationship with my ex, Paul's, family if for nothing more than the sake of Olivia.  I try to talk with his wife Jill and see whats new in their lives, like the recent addition of a baby girl and now with my addiction to facebook I'm able to keep up with his cousin and others.  It's nice to be able to say to Olivia that I know whats going on with this or that person.  It makes her feel like were keeping the family together in the most unconventional slightly dyfunctional manner possible.  This adventure into getting back in contact with members of her immediate and extended family made me realize that there were some fences that could use mending a little closer in her family tree.  It was time to have a sit down with my ex and talk about our daughter.

" I didn't say that it was a GOOD idea, I just said that it might be a good time to get this conversation on the record."

Later that evening I had asked Olivia's father to meet me to talk to him about a few things that had been going on over the past few months.  We don't talk much.  Correction...we don't talk at all, so I figured why not seize the opportunity to sit down face to face and get a few things out in the open regarding some things in my life and more so things regarding our daughter who in just a few short years, with God willing and her GPA holding, will be going off to college.  I texted a friend that I had seen while I was down as well as Kara to tell her where I would be in case she was wondering and the next thing I know I'm feeling very anxious and thinking "this might not be such a good idea".  When you haven't really had an in depth discussion with someone that you used to be involved with and the product of that relationship was a child, you'll find that it's best to have pepto and liquor handy.  

Thankfully, I was equipped with both.  The conversation started off a little tense but within a few moments we were discussing Olivia as if we had talked like this for the full 15 yrs that she has inhabited this earth.  Once I got out that I wasn't there to tell him that she was pregnant...we were fine.  I had sent a text to Kara, joking that if I wasn't home when she got in for work she should come and look for me.  I listed where we were meeting and what I was wearing in case she needed to give a description.  It was all in good fun to break the anxiety that I was feeling.  The funny part was that where we ended up meeting happened to be a place that she knew well and that a friend of hers was actually going to be at while we were there.

"He can be my Doug."  "That may be true, but I'm not leaving you here alone with him."

I got a text a few minutes into talking with Paul that read in part that she had eyes on the premises, there was a guy named Doug (a friend of hers) that would be keeping an eye out on me.  When I couldn't stop chuckling at the text I was getting from her I finally told Paul what they said and before we knew it we were being introduced to Doug.  I had had a few drinks and so I thought it would be hysterical to say to Doug..."you could be my Doug"...from my many times of watching the Hangover.  I don't think he found it as funny as I did.  

After a few short moments he rejoined his table and I turned to Paul and told him that I'd said all I needed to say and thanked him for meeting me.  I told him he could go ahead and go and that I was gonna wait for Kara.  Paul looked around for Doug and then looked at me smiling and said that he'd rather NOT leave me alone with that guy.  I found it funny mainly because after 15yrs of not being around him on a a routine basis it was pretty comical for him to say he wouldn't leave me, a grown woman, alone in this establishment.  But a few minutes later Kara showed up so there was no reason for him too stay and so we said our good-bye's and he left. 

This trip had been full of moments that I would cherish and things that I was glad that I had done even though they made me feel anxious or slightly uncomfortable.  I had conquered going back to the fair after 19 yrs of avoiding it due to it's part in the night my sister was killed.  I was talking to people I had lost contact with for over a decade and I was working on a relationship, that in Olivia's eyes, would probably be the most beneficial for her.  I guess any kid hopes that her parents will at least be able to be in the same room with one another for more than 30 seconds without bloodshed.  Tonight, we accomplished that.  Took 15 years, but really....who's counting?? 

I was patting myself on the back and feeling pretty darn good, the best part was I still had one more day left....

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